NCR: Root Canal > Who Am I ?
Theoretically the past is in the past. It’s over. There is only the present moment. Certainly there is more than a modicum of truth in those statements, and yet, in the most practical of ways, we are the product of our history. Our politics, religions, countries, wars, familial relationships, cultural issues, personal belief systems… Everything really, exists as it does in its current form as a culmination of everything that has preceded it.
Upon turning thirty I, in the most predictable of thirty-year-old things to do, started to question who I was. This misleadingly simple query is also one I have been wrestling with in a very exhilarating and at times befuddling life-long MMA match with myself. (Sima also informs me that this question happens to be the base question of an entire branch of yoga called Jnana Yoga. Go look it up!)
So, early last year I was propelled to leap down the rabbit hole of my late maternal grandmother’s family history. Which happens to be absolutely fascinating. My grandmother was born in Jamaica of mixed descent. Her grandfather had come from China to work the Panama Canal. Her grandmother a woman of mixed heritage, was the daughter of a Scottish estate owner and an African slave. At least this is what I have been able to grasp from the data that is available.
This article is not intended as a dissertation on my family history or the history of Jamaica itself, but more as a statement about how this quest has lead me to an unexpectedly immense feeling of connectedness. Not only is there the aspect of seeing the intricacies of my own personal history, but there is the seemingly inevitable recognition of my “family” being so much more than the immediacy of blood. Meaning, the deeper I fall into history the more I see our common roots. And where I feel I had a sense of the truth of this before, the practice of study and research has personalized this understanding.
In forests, root systems link up beneath the surface of the earth. The trees that seem to stand so separate and distinct are in fact intimately linked. The more I dig into my roots, the more I settle into the truth that I am like that with you. We are the current living expression of humanity. And our history is shared. There is a solidity to that I never expected to feel. I am the result of not only my own choices, but the choices and actions of all those who came before me. Building an understanding of the past is helping me to grasp where I am in this present. Who am I? It seems that I don’t exist in isolation thrust into the present from the abyss (although that is a possibility) and if I choose to believe that I exist out of a shared history, then perhaps it is just as important to ask: who are we? ~Kristin
What an inspiring article! Thank you! “Who are we?” As simple as it may sound I think one of many answers is: We all are the same. No matter if we might have political, social or racial differences, we all breathe, feel, are human and have the same roots if you think about it in an evolutionary way. Let’s never forget that :)